Agri-Clinics & Agri-Business Training : The Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India launched Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centres scheme in the year 2002 which is presently implemented by MANAGE, Hyderabad, and NABARD. The scheme aims to help unemployed Farm, Veterinary, Fisheries, Forestry, Agricultural Engineering, Horticulture, TNAU-Home Science, Rural Science and Science Graduates with Post Graduation in Agriculture and Diploma in Agriculture & its allied subjects & +2 with Agri related vocational subjects to setup Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business centres for self employment and to provide quality extension services to the farmers.
VAPS-Voluntary Association for People Service, Madurai, TamilNadu is one of the organization approved by Central Ministry of Agriculture, to conduct the 60 days free of cost residential training programme for TamilNadu, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands in agri- business aspects, market survey and bankable project preparation. Trained candidates can avail loan upto 20 lakhs from Nationalized and State Cooperative Banks. Credit linked subsidy @ 36% of the cost of the loan would be eligible for general category candidates. The subsidy would be 44% in respect of candidates belonging to SC/ST, Women and other disadvantaged sections and those from NE and Hill States.The repayment waiver upto 6 months is also available. This subsidy is financed by Union Ministry of Agriculture through NABARD
The VAPS training centre has already trained 1598 Agri and allied graduates / Diploma Holders in Agri and allied candidates out of them 944 trained Agripreneurs are establishing Agri-Clinic & Agri Business Centres at Village level to cater to the technical and input needs of the farming community. In this 155 Agriprenuers got financial support from various Nationalised Banks.
NABARD FTTF PROGRAMME : A two days seminar on “Agri-technologies and Agri marketing to the farmers of Madurai West Panchayat Union and East Panchayat Union by Voluntary Association for People Service (VAPS) with the financial assistance from NABARD – Farmers’ Technology Transfer Fund (FTTF).
The seminar had focus on cultivation practices under the changed monsoon conditions, soil fertility, role of small machineries for rice cultivation, water management, Bank finances, value addition & marketing by the experts from concerned fields.
Totally 60 farmers from the Madurai West and East Panchayat Union participated in the seminar. Transport charges, food & accommodation were given to them in support of NABARD. The farmers were felt that the programmes should be extended other farmers and also regularly . In general they said they were fully satisfied about the programme technical menu and came to know about various technologies on production, marketing and Bank finances.
Farmers Awareness Programme on Rural Godown Scheme. : Directorate of Marketing and Inspection under the Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India and VAPS – Voluntary Association for People Service, Madurai are conducting a three days training programme from 21.07.2008 to 23.07.2008 on “Farmer Awareness Programme on Rural Godown Scheme” and development / strengthening Agricultural marketing infrastructural / grading and standardisation.
The scheme envisages capital investment subsidy schemes in TamilNadu for the benefit of farmers in avoiding distress sale and efficient marketing of the Agricultural produces. The scheme carries a backended subsidy of 25 to 33.33% of the total cost of project capital thus the scheme helps to promote direct marketing, value addition and farmers financial stability.
DAESI : The Public Extension System alone is not sufficient and Govt. of India emphasized the use of Multi Agency Extension Services in Transfer of Technology. The Agri input dealers are mainly located in rural areas an important source of farm information to the farming community. Farmers are depending on the dealers for their technical as well as input supply, who are available at their door steps even in rural areas. Nearly 90% of dealers do not have the formal Agricultural Education. They are basically business man. If they are transformed as para – professionals by updating their technical knowledge, they can serve the farmers in a better way. National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), has designed Diploma in Agricultural Extension Services for Input Dealers (DAESI), a one year Diploma course, which imparts formal Agricultural Education to the dealers, so that they couple their business with extension services.
The course so designed to make the dealers technically more competent, topics like Agro-climatic conditions, soils, soil analysis, land use planning, Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and crop production technology in respect of all crops being grown in the district, including horticultural crops, vegetables, floriculture, farm mechanization etc were included in the course.
To improve communication skills, few lecturers on Extension Education, Extension Methods, discussion and adoption of innovations, Role of Mass Media etc. were dealt. For individual development, few topics an importance of Meditation for mind control and thought process, Business Principles were taught. To make them to discharge regulatory responsibilities enjoined on them, laws related to Agricultural Inputs were dealt at lengths.
The subjects are dealt in class rooms coupled with practical classes. The candidates are going to have first hand informations in the fields as well as laboratories. Course will be dealt in 48 Sundays or any day preferred the registered dealers. Different registers to be maintained by the candidates. Each candidate is going to be given separate topic for seminars for which marks are provided. Periodical quiz tests, Half yearly and Annual exams will be conducted. For getting a pass 40% marks to be obtained by the candidates.
VAPS at Madurai has signed MoU with MANAGE to conduct the course in TamilNadu and Puducherry with more concentrations in Southern Districts. Due to the motivation through group and individual contact the first batch of DAESI programme has been started at Dindigul District.
Training Programme for Rural Women : Micro credit is one of the important poverty alleviation strategy used by VAPS which provides financial security to the poor women who live-in rural areas. A training programme on paper cup any toy making s of women has been organized in Virudhunagar. During the training programme the trainees are involved in meditation, capacity building promotion of leadership, self management, personality development etc., Now they are manufacturing tea cups and supplying to various canteens, hotels and tea shops etc.,
Gender Workshop: A two days Workshop organized at Virudhunagar for the staff working for SHGs, and leaders of SHGs on gender issues. The main aim of the workshop is towards people active in the field of gender and development. In the training strategies to ensure that gender equity and equality are prioritized on project and program.
There were totally 25 participants participated in the two day workshop.
Research : Research study on ‘Enhancing Women empowerment through Information & Communication technology’, in five major corporations of Tamil Nadu Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Tiruchirapalli its been - Funded by Ministry of Women and child Development, Government of India- Now the final report has been submitted to the Ministry.